Enzymes - do we like that in craft beer?

Reads 4275 • Replies 27 • Started Sunday, December 5, 2010 4:22:12 AM CT

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beers 25049 º places 4 º 04:22 Sun 12/5/2010

Enzymes, allowing you to brew with unmalted grain is slowly creeping into the world of craft beer also.

Danish producer Novozymes have long been supplying AB with the enzymes for Bud Lite.

( http://www.novozymes.com/en/solutions/food-and-beverages/brewing/Pages/default.aspx)

But now also small brewers are experimenting with enzymes. This one just came out:


I google translated the commercial description:

Nørrebro Brewery is proud to present perhaps the world’s first Enzyme Pale Ale. This beer has been born through a collaboration between Nørrebro Brewery and Novozymes. The beer is brewed with more than 85% un-malted barley as undermashing are added laboratory-produced enzymes which normally has only been a technique that has been available for the largest brewers in the world. The vision was to create a beer that combines the best of the creative part of microbrews world and the most advanced technology in the industrial brewing technique.
The result is an American pale ale at 5.8%. The beer appears golden unfiltered and with distinct feature of American hops. The moderate residual sweetness helps to balance the aggressive hop profile while contributing notes of pine, citrus and grapefruit.

I know other Danish craft brewers are experimenting with enzymes. Is the same thing happening in the US?

With my heart I don’t like it, but is there really any reason to dislike this short cut? It does reduce the CO2 release from the malting process...

Please discuss.

beers 25049 º places 4 º 04:24 Sun 12/5/2010
beers 727 º places 167 º 05:13 Sun 12/5/2010

Totally against.

Unmalted grains taste nothing like malted grains (obviously!) and so the beer’s grain base will taste thin, sweet and sticky with little complexity.

I suppose it depends what type of beer you want to brew (as hops will sort of hide this sweet dullness) but I’d choose premium Maris otter every time as the base grain because it tastes great and I just don’t see the point of adding enzymes into the mash when malted barley is full of the things naturally.

Plus, how are these enzymes cultivated? Big companies aren’t averse to using GM or similar techniques to do things like this and there’s no way I want GM (or any other fucked around with) stuff in the beer I drink...

beers 3940 º places 104 º 05:59 Sun 12/5/2010

I’m not going to say without having tried the beers. If the enzymes are produced in a way that using them is safe, this could very well be a way to include other ingredients. After all, it’s not that different in principle than having to use a measure of malted barely in wheat beers to make sure there are enough enzymes present to convert those grains with either fewer enzymes or in some cases the unmalted specialty grains.

If the beer comes out worse, then it won’t survive in craft beer. If it becomes an interesting way to add new ingredients to the beer that couldn’t be added before because of conversion issues, then great.

places 2 º 06:53 Sun 12/5/2010

Hate to break it to you, but there are plenty of craft breweries that use enzymes in their brewing process to enhance extraction rates. Not much different than adding calcium chloride, diammonium phosphate, phosphoric acid, or any other normally used brewing aid.
Although, I don’t see any advantage to brewing with unmalted grain, other than as a one off type of thing. Enzymes are required to brew something like Michelob Ultra or the old "Dry" styles. They allow you to ferment previously un-fermentable sugars.

beers 30308 º places 3523 º 08:47 Sun 12/5/2010

Since the Europeans generally hate genetically modified foods, and are passionately against such "manipulations of nature," I’m shocked to see them advertising their use of "laboratory produced" enzymes. Sounds like a Frankenstein movie to me....

places 1 º 08:49 Sun 12/5/2010

Personally I don’t care what a craft brewer uses in their beers. I do think some things should be listed on the label but beyond that the only thing that really matters is taste.

beers 2845 º 09:46 Sun 12/5/2010

Next thing you know we’ll have beer with oats or rye in it. What’s the world coming to?

beers 1 º places 1 º 10:43 Sun 12/5/2010

Sorry, can anyone explain this a bit further to those of us who dont know much about enzymes and what they do to the malt.



beers 3208 º places 116 º 11:12 Sun 12/5/2010

Originally posted by MagicDave6
Sorry, can anyone explain this a bit further to those of us who dont know much about enzymes and what they do to the malt.



I presume they serve a similar role to the enzymes in malted barley, converting starches into sugar. Unmalted grains don’t have those enzymes activated (for the most part), which is why brewing a batch of 100% unmalted barley or whatever generally doesn’t work; something has to convert those plant starches into something the yeast can eat. This also ties into why craft brewers would be using them to increase the amount of sugar that they can extract from a given amount of grain.

beers 16 º places 3 º 12:08 Sun 12/5/2010

I would assume the unmalted barley would be used to provide the bulk fermentables while speciality grains are still needed to provide the necessary character. Just a replacement for the base malt. So more efficiencies. lower cost ingredients while requiring less energy does not necessarily sound like a bad thing.